Welcome to “The Many Faces of Dance Music”. In this series, I try to dive into the world of electronic music and explain the differences between multiple genres of electronic dance music (EDM). Genres are a plenty with countless sub-genres; such as techno, dub-step, trance, house, drum & bass and more. My aim is to help educate as well as entertain on just what makes each one of these genres tick.
Today, we dive into the fast paced, energetic world. Driving beats, fast rhythms and pulsing basses. Today’s journey will take you into the hard lined world of hard trance.
Hard trance is a sub-genre of trance that came around from Western Europe (Germany, Belgium and The Netherlands). This style of trance began to rise in the early 90’s, deriving from the want to experiment from happy hardcore and UK hard house artists and producers. The peak of hard trance seemed to be in the late 90’s and very early 00’s as newer forms of trance began to come to light and shift into popularity. Hard trance was mainly associated with huge raves, consisting of thousands of ravers. Gaining popularity in the mid 90’s, major record labels even began to notice the shift in music popularity and began to heavily market compilation CD’s in various forms of media. As time moved on, so did fans and producers alike, thus having hard trance fall into the background. In most cases of hard trance in today’s world, it’s mostly hybrid type of trance, with multiple genres tossed in to create a new version of dance music.
Hard trance can be noticed by many different factors and takes influences from various other genres including techno, acid techno and even happy hardcore. The overall feel of hard trance is a more fast paced, aggressive type of sound. Typically in the bpm (beats per minute) range of 148 up to 160 in speed.
One of the main aspects of hard trance are the aggressive nature of the kicks. Hard, punchy and even sometimes down pitch shifted, they are one of the most prominent things in a hard trance track. Big resonating basslines are also found as well as techy aggressive synth lead melodies over top. Hard trance can feature emotive breakdowns and melodic elements as well to counter the hard, aggressive style of the rest of the track, but eventually, the aggressiveness returns and the hard acid lines, melodies and basses come back full force.
Listed below are some examples of hard trance.
Showtek – FTS
Mario Picotto – Iguana
Jones & Stephenson – The First Rebirth (MegaDJ’s Remix)